|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
The author concentrates on the choices facing farmers in a small village in central Mali, West Africa. These farmers have had continually to adapt their farming methods in order to survive. The study shows how such changes have taken place and why some families are more successful than others in
surviving and prospering. It provides an analysis of millet yields, and of returns to investment in ploughs, wells, and breeding cattle. Decisions regarding marriage, child-rearing, and household organization are discussed within an economic framework to demonstrate the strong economic rationale
behind choices made in these spheres.
The book concludes that larger, more diverse households found within this society (containing as many as forty to sixty people) are much better able to resist the risks of drought and illness than are small nuclear family groups. Environmental issues are shown to be crucial to the longer term
viability of such a community.